Posted by on Dec 26, 2009 in DIY, excitement, music, software, video, video games

My Xbox Guitar Hero to MIDI application AXIS is available now!

Mac users:

  • Get AXIS 1.0 HERE.
  • You’ll also need the Tattiebogle Xbox drivers from here.
  • If you get the dreaded blinking green light there’s now a solution!  Check here.

Windows users:

  • Get AXIS 1.0 HERE.
  • You’ll also need LoopBe from here.
  • If the Xbox drivers don’t install automatically try here.

AXIS was built in Max/MSP.  If you’d like to adapt it for a different guitar or anything just get in touch and I’ll send you the source source now available on github!


  1. BzZz
    January 5, 2010

    Hey dude, great job you did with this piece of software. To bad I can not get it to run. I’m running Windows Vista here. Installed LoopBe + Axis and plugged in my Rockband controller. When I start the application I hear one single note beeping. I can switch between controllmode and playmode but I when I push the buttons on the guitar I don’t hear any sound at all. The orange signalbutton is flickering though…

    I assume something is wrong with the internal LoopBe MIDI Port :/

    • bob
      January 5, 2010

      ah, sorry man, axis is only for xbox GH controllers. you might wanna give miditar hero a go. it’s similar and supports rockband axes.

  2. Justin
    January 8, 2010

    Great app, mate. I love it! However I can’t seem to get the Tilt or Roll to send out MIDI CC. I’m on Win7 using Live 7. I have loopbe installed as well. Everything works except when I try and map tilt or roll like you do in your video, Ableton doesn’t pick up the messages. Even if I map, say cutoff, to CC2 via another controller (nanoKontrol) I can’t get Tilt to respond to anything.

    Any ideas?

    • bob
      January 8, 2010

      hmmm… my guess would be it’s a windows 7 driver problem. although clicking the MIDI CC buttons with tilt disabled should be happily sending MIDI messages.
      maybe check in ableton midi preferences that loopbe is set to “remote”. if that doesn’t work maybe try the windows xbox drivers i linked to above. let me know!

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    […] My live show’s centered around my macbook running Ableton controlled by a guitar hero controller using an app I wrote in max/msp called AXIS. […]

  5. Zack
    February 6, 2010

    Hmm… looks like an extremely interesting project! I tried, in vain mind you, a long while ago to map the keys of my rockband guitar to hit some notes in a synth called zynaddsubfx, and pretty much gave up on the idea thinking that it would be fairly useless anyway, but seeing this has inspired me again! My question is: do you think this will be in any way easily adaptable to linux, and if so can I get my hands on some source? Great job, it looks like tons of fun to play!

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  7. eric
    February 11, 2010

    going to get it working in linux nexy? maybe give us some source code so we could complie it to work in gnome or a debian/ubuntu package would be sweet!

  8. A
    February 16, 2010

    does this work with a wii guitar?

    • bob
      February 16, 2010

      not at this point. but it would be fairly straight forward to mod it if you have any experience with max… or you have a friend with experience with max… or you can wait a lil’ while and i’ll get around to it eventually. i chose the xbox guitar because it’s bog standard usb plus they’re cheap and plentiful :D

  9. Max
    February 28, 2010

    Really good :) But I Get a fucking sound of piano..How to change it plz ?

    • bob
      February 28, 2010

      AXIS doesn’t make any sound itself, it only sends out MIDI information other software interprets to make sound. The piano sound you’re hearing is the operating systems inbuilt midi synth. Getting different sounds requires running something like Ableton Live, Reason, Garage Band or anythng that accepts MIDI. If you’re in OSX select “from axis 1” as your MIDI input in your prefered audio app. If you’re in windows you’ll need to download and install loopbe then select that as your MIDI in. Let me know how you go.

  10. Jukka
    March 4, 2010

    Hey Robert!!!! Great Job!! Just what I´ve been looking for : a windows software for this! Cant wait to plug in and try.

  11. abstract
    March 10, 2010

    hey there! RAD app. i’ve got 3 macs – an old power pc g5 iMac,

    a brand new macbook pro w/ intel chip,

    and an older power pc g5 laptop that i haven’t tested yet with Tattiebogle.

    with the first 2 machines, tattiebogle does not work as an osx driver.

    I REALLY want to use your app. but neither my Preference Pane in System Preferences – XBox 360 Controller, or the Axis app, recognizes the xbox 360 explorer guitar as a device.


    • bob
      March 10, 2010

      Hi Amanda,
      I’ve had a couple of people report the same problem. It seems to be a driver problem. I’d recomend emailing the tattiebogle guy, I’m going to do the same and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of it. and let me know how you go with the other ‘puter. thanks.

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  13. B
    March 11, 2010

    Thanks for you work on this project. I’m really interested in making this work but as of yet, I have not had any luck.
    I’m running Mac OS10.5.8 on my macbook and I have downloaded axis and the driver from tattiebogle, even though the xbox GH explorer is recognized from the USB slot in Syestem Preferences, I cannot get axis to recognize it or any sounds. Garage band does tell me midi inputs have changed and two have been added, but I can’t figure out how to use them….help please, if you can!

    • bob
      March 11, 2010

      do you get a solid green light when the guitar is connected? does does the system preference pane recognize button presses?
      make sure your guitar is plugged in before opening axis and as long as the system pane recognizes the guitar, it should appear in the drop down list.
      some people have hit a driver problem but it sounds like your guitar is properly installed…
      when you press buttons on the guitar do you get orange blinking lights in the top right coners of axis?

      as far as MIDI goes, you should have two new midi devices, axis 1 and axis 2. by default both play and control mode send to axis1. set up a software instrument and choose “from axis 1” as your midi input and set it to channel 2. you might also need to record arm the track to hear it. this guide might help:

      another thing to try is to select “AU DLS Synth” from the midi device menu and that should give you a default piano sound with out needing any additional software.
      hope that’s of some help, keep me updated!

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  15. B
    April 21, 2010

    1) I have a blinking green light on the guitar…why/how do I fix that?

    2) No button presses are recognized by either the system or the axis software. The guitar doesn’t show up on the axis pull down menu.

    This all might be due to whatever is causing the green light to blink…any ideas about what I could do?


    • bob
      April 22, 2010

      hi b,
      yep, this is a known problem. if the light’s blinking it means the driver isn’t recognizing the guitar. are you on osx? if so i reccomend using something like appcleaner to completely remove the driver and then reinstall it.

      I’ve been trying to get in touch with the tattieboggle guy with out any success so far…

      if you’re on windows then try this driver:

      please keep me posted!

      • V
        February 24, 2013

        Appcleaner sucks .. you have to delete files in the library and system/library …

        1.Remove the following files:
        2. Restart your computer
        3. Done!

  16. Cory
    April 24, 2010

    This is such a nifty tool and works great on my Windows 7 laptop. I’m going to try to incorporate this into our band’s live show, thank you so much.

    Microsoft sells a wireless receiver for xbox 360 devices to connect to the PC (I.E. GH Wireless guitars). Do you think the wireless GH guitars would work using that receiver?

    The adapters sell on Ebay for 14 bucks or so. I might get one and try it out. I am assuming it would send the same messages via the wireless USB receiver as the USB controller?

    • bob
      April 24, 2010

      great to hear! i pretty sure the wireless adapter will work. it is mentioned on the tattieboggle site. let me know how it goes and post some video! i’d love to check it out.

  17. B
    May 4, 2010

    I uninstalled and reinstalled the driver and still have the same blinking light situation. I’m running Mac 10.5.8. I guess I’m just outta luck unless there is a fix or update…let me know if you think of anything else I should try.

  18. Lakalb
    July 19, 2010

    cool video….
    I wanted to know if the set up will work with a xbox 360 controller?
    I want to map a xbox controller to the functions in serato scratch live,
    the controller is picking up in axis but when i try map controller in serato scratch live nothing happens. will it be possible to map conroller to serato functions? any help will be appreciated…running windows 7 64 bit.

    • bob
      July 19, 2010

      not sure about this but my hunch is it would work. I don’t have a controller to try it out but the standard controller and guitar should output more or less the same. Maybe just make sure you have loopbe installed and have it selected as midi in in serato. let me know if you have any luck.

      • Lakalb
        July 19, 2010

        I do have loopbe installed, How does it work?
        do u just click loopbe icon and its on workin?
        The midi in serato doesnt work so u can select a device,
        to assign device in serato u just click midi button and start
        assigning…similar to albeton…Do i have to set settings in axis or
        loopbe correctly??

  19. Lakalb
    July 19, 2010

    Hi Bob,
    I seem to have it going now. thanks for for making a
    cool, simple to use program.I mapped a few functions
    and all is well. i will continue testing and let u know
    if any changes. Is there adjustment so u can hold down button?
    i can only trigger once and im not able to hold down button if u
    know what i mean..

    • bob
      July 19, 2010

      good to know you got it working. it will only really be effective in control mode which means yes, you’ll only get blips of midi. play mode can output sustained notes but relies on combinations of buttons tailored to the guitar. maybe you might wanna look into live sticks or osculator which are both geared towards joystick to midi conversion.

  20. Daniel
    August 23, 2010

    Okay I just wanted to say that you are totally awesome. I am 19 and studying Programing in school. I seriously wanna be like you some day dude. Thanx so much.

    • bob
      August 30, 2010

      hey, thanks man. if you’re studying programming you’re already a step ahead of me! good luck.

  21. annamirl
    September 10, 2010

    hi, thanks for your nice work.
    axis runs fine, but it takes too much cpu 30 – 40% on my eeepc900 win7.
    do you have the source as max4.5? so i could try to make it a little more cpu friendly.

    • bob
      September 15, 2010

      You’ve got mail…

  22. Lakalb
    November 16, 2010

    Hi Bob…been using your program with xbox 360 controller for few months now and all is good.
    Just some things i wanted to run by you…i recently purchased chatpad for xbox 360 controller, windows doesn’t have driver yet and i was wondering if u would know how to get chatpad working as midi?or even get chatpad to work in windows? chatpad doesn’t come up in device menu in axis.

    Also, axis sometimes asks me to restart…would that be because i only have demo of loopbe?

  23. bob
    November 26, 2010

    ah yes, i did have athink about trying out a chat pad. according to tattiebogle the chat pad is supported with their driver.

    re getting it to pump out midi, that depends if it’s sending out keystrokes or game control data… you might wanna check out osculator

    there are free equivalents too. you could also so use PureData (free) or Max/MSP (hey that’s what axis was made in ;)

    hmmm… not sure about the need to restart! i don’t think the demo of loopbe should matter as long as it’s loopbe1 and not its bigger brother…. if that’s not it maybe you could shoot me a screen shot next time it happens?

  24. Haz
    January 8, 2011

    Hey dude,

    I just saw this hack for a guitar hero controller and thought of you:

    You should totally integrate this into your live show.

    • bob
      January 8, 2011

      that’s amazing, thanks for the link.

  25. Sam
    February 2, 2011

    Hi, first your program is realy cool, thanks from Quebec, Canada. I’m working to control video in max with controler, since i’m on pc I can use wiimote so I think about modifying Axis to controler different jitter parameter in Max. Is is possible to have the source code to try to make some modification?

    • bob
      February 2, 2011

      you’ve got mail ;D

  26. jay
    March 31, 2011

    Hey I’m on a Mac and I can’t get the guitar to register on the computer. I downloaded the tattie-something driver but when my guitar is plugged in, my system preferences says that there are no devices and Axis doesn’t recognize it either.

    • bob
      March 31, 2011

      Hi, If the green light on your guitar is blinking then this is a known problem. I too had the problem and this is how i fixed it. Even if your green light isn’t blinking it’s still worth a shot. The problem is within the Tattieboggle driver so it’s not something I can fix but the author of the driver is aware of the problem and is working on it. If the link above doesn’t work then you might need to sit tight until a new version of the driver is released.


  27. subpixel
    April 15, 2011

    I’m impressed. Code and wild guitar shredding.

  28. Jay
    April 25, 2011

    does this work for guitar hero controller for pc and not xbox??

    • bob
      April 25, 2011

      yep, if it’s usb and looks like the one in the video it will work.

  29. hisham
    April 26, 2011

    what is the name of the main program u r using???

    • bob
      April 28, 2011

      It’s Ableton Live. See here.

  30. DJ Wangin
    May 13, 2011

    Hey there wicked vids man can’t wait to get mine up and running…. having issues though

    I wont bore you but its all looking like its running fine but the tilt censor’s just seem to be throwing out heaps of midi so much so that nothing else works in either mode… could it be an issue with my guitar controller maybe?? Im running Mac snow leopard 10.6.7 with the proper driver and already fixed the binky green light issue but everytime i open this in Ableton i can see the midi just constantly being sent it hardly stops…. plus when i go to map something it automaticly goes to the CC and wont accept any other signal as the CC1,2,3 just keep throwing midi

    hope you can help me man


    • bob
      May 15, 2011

      if you click the tilt sensor check box it will disable the tilt sensors and open up an option to send out a single bang for a selected tilt sensor. Once it’s mapped you can turn the sensors back on and you’ll be rocking.

  31. Marty Lake
    August 16, 2011

    Hi man !

    Your app is awesome. The biggest problem is the playability. It’s very efficient to play notes thats aren’t far from each other, but if I want for example play a riff like Aerodynamic’s one, I just can’t.

    But I’ve got an idea: the max/msp that receive events from the guitar have an additionnal midi input (like the vocoder audio input for carrier, but in midi). If you send a 5 notes chord into it, you can play theses notes immediatly with the 5 buttons, like in the Guitar Hero game !

    This will have two big effects:
    1) Playability goes to MAXIMUM if you’re used to play GH (like me héhé :D)
    2) The scenic part is bigger, you seems to play more like a real guitar and that’s what I want more

    What do you think about it ? I wish I could do this myself but I’m completly newbe to max programming

    musicaly yours,
    Marty Lake

    • bob
      August 23, 2011

      hey marty,

      with smart scale choice and a lot of practice it is possible to play basically anything monophonic – ie most guitar solos. but it will take a lot of practice as it’s more like playing a saxophone or a flute than a guitar.

      if you’d like to play more notes at once and you’re using ableton you can get really great results using the built in chord and scale plugins. if you’re in a different program, googling midi plugins will get you far. check this out for more of an explanation:

  32. Chris
    December 29, 2011

    Hey great program, although I can’t seem to get a sound out of it, the program is registering everthing and i can change the offset, velocity etc but no sound? also, how would i go about getting this into ableton to use? Cheers, Chris

    • bob
      January 10, 2012

      hey chris,
      check out the pdf manual included in the axis download. there’s a step by step for connecting to live on mac and windows.


  33. Bri
    January 24, 2012

    Hi, I can’t seem to get my guitar hero controller to show up as a device in axis. I followed the directions, tried reinstalling a few times and still nothing is working. Any suggestions?

    • bob
      February 6, 2012

      are you on a mac or pc? what operating system?
      what guitar are you using? (keep in mind axis is written specifically for wired xbox xplorers.)


  34. Bri
    February 18, 2012

    I’m on a Macbook pro (OSX Snow Leopard)
    and using guitar hero Xbox xplorer wired controller …

  35. MartyLake
    March 18, 2012

    Hi !

    After some months without doing music, (and installing Lion), I just realised that AXIS (best program ever, you were true, this way of playing is very very great) don’t work anymore. I tried a lot of things :
    1) instaling last version
    2) re-instaling drivers
    3) re-instaling old drivers

    Nothing changes, sometime the controler isn’t recognized (green flashing lights), and when I apply the fix for this, it doesn’t do light anymore, but it doesnt appear anywhere (Axis, or System Panel Xbox360 controller).

    Keep up good work!

    • bob
      March 18, 2012

      Hey Marty,
      sorry to hear of your troubles. This is indeed a driver problem and not something I can fix. Your best bet would be contacting the tattieboggle author directly.
      Any reason in particular you’re using Lion? Snow Leopard is by all accounts more stable. Reverting to that could be a quick fix.


  36. MartyLake
    March 18, 2012

    Hi Bob,

    I don’t have any particular reason, if not having my os up-to-date =/ I don’t know if I can revert to SL since I use TimeMachine to make my backups. I’ll contact tattiboggle to see if he/they know how to fix it.

    Thanks for your kick reply,

  37. Michael
    March 29, 2013

    I think I’m reading this right, but as far as you know, will axis (more specifically tattieboggle) not work with Lion?

    Do you know of any other work arounds without going back to SL?


    • bob
      March 29, 2013

      not sure if tattieboggle works with lion but i know it works with mountain lion. so if you’re having trouble in lion you could try upgrading to ML.

  38. Manuel
    May 30, 2013

    I need a similar app for connect rockband 3 fender mustang pro guitar controller for wii, can you send me the code of this please??

    • bob
      May 30, 2013

      have you tired miditar hero? that should do the trick.

  39. Kam
    July 24, 2013

    How do you map the tilt sensors on the newest version of Ableton?

    • bob
      July 24, 2013

      you can mute the tilt sensors in axis and then click the respective buttons to send a blip to your target application. check out the pdf in the download for details.

  40. muffin
    August 6, 2013

    i got two ps3 guitars will it work with rhem or can you point me in the right direction to get a program that will work them

  41. Tony
    September 22, 2013

    I’ve been using this and it’s wicked, thanks a lot man! I was just wondering though, is there a way to get it to support hammer-ons and pull-offs?

    • bob
      December 8, 2013

      I’m unlikely to be adding any new features anytime soon but I might port it over to a different model guitar.
      I believe miditar hero might support hammer ons…

  42. Nicolae
    October 27, 2013

    Hey man, this program looks awesome, but does it not work in Windows 8? I just downloaded it and I’m not getting any response at all out of Axis or out of my DAW. I’ve got it plugged in, looks like the drivers installed okay (the green light is on solid) and it says Guitar Hero controller in the device menu but nothing happens when I hit any buttons at all. Any advice?

    • bob
      December 8, 2013

      Hmmmm… I don’t have a windows 8 system to test but I’ll try windows 7 today and get back to you. If there are different drivers you can try that’d be the first thing to test.
      Axis might be due for an update anyhoo – thinking of porting across to a WII guitar.